SAPPER GUY MARTIN BERRY
4TH OCTOBER 1917 AGE 22
BURIED: LIJSSENTHOEK MILITARY CEMETERY, BELGIUM
Yesterday's inscription introduced Chaucer's knight, today's summarises his qualities - he was a perfect example of masculine nobility and refinement. Such was the lure of medieval chivalry in the late nineteenth century that the families of many soldiers referred to it one way or another in inscriptions - the same reason so many people and institutions chose stained-glass, bronze or stone knights in armour for war memorials. Interestingly, despite the inverted commas and the archaic spelling, this isn't an accurate rendition of the original, which is generally spelt - "He was a verray, gentil, parfit knyght".
Berry had great difficulty enlisting; he was refused twice on the grounds of health - in fact the State Library of Victoria website has the badge he was entitled to wear, which says 'Volunteered for active service - Medically unfit". This was to prevent people like Berry being labeled 'slackers'. Berry's problem was that he had a weak heart as a result of a bout of typhoid fever. However, on 30 October 1916 he was eventually accepted and sailed for England that December. After training to be a signaller - and securing full marks in the qualifying exam - he arrived in France on 8 September 1917. Less than a month later, on 4 October, he received gunshot wounds to his chest and knee and died in a Casualty Clearing Station the same day.
Berry was educated at Scotch College, Melbourne. Their website has more information about his life and death together with some lovely photographs.